Jillian Richardson ‘23 Wins NESCAC Runner of the Week Twice

Jillian Richardson ‘23, of Auburn, has just won her second NESCAC Runner of the Week title this year.

Bates Sports

Jillian Richardson ‘23, of Auburn, has just won her second NESCAC Runner of the Week title this year.

The women’s cross country team has been in dominant form this fall, rising all the way up to 10th in the national rankings. 

Prior to the cancellations as a result of the pandemic, the team placed third at the NESCAC Cross Country Championships, fourth out of 54 teams at NCAA Regionals held at Bowdoin College, and just a week later placed 14 out of 32 teams at the NCAA championships. 

One of the reasons for the Bobcats’ success this fall is junior Jillian Richardson. In 2019, Richardson finished 56 out of 280 runners with a time of 22:24.2 at the NCAA championships, which led Bates to a program best 14th place finish out of 32 teams.

She also earned NCAA All-Region honors with her top 35 overall at the New England Championships and became Bates’ first all Rookie NESCAC selection since the 1990’s. 

An Auburn, ME native, Richardson first won the NESCAC Runner of the Week award in September. Just this past week, she won it again.

When asked about her thoughts on winning the award, Richardson was happy to be recognized again for her performances by the NESCAC, stating “It’s always exciting seeing your hard work pay off!”

Richardson’s commanding first place finish at the Maine State Meet on Oct. 2 propelled her to her second NESCAC Runner of the Week award, where she helped the Bobcats win their fifth straight Maine State Meet title. The Bates women became the first in Division III to win five straight state titles since the women’s meet began in 1978, according to Bates Sports.

With the time off between the 2019 and 2021 season, Richardson is happy to just be back competing and training with her teammates again, a sentiment shared by many student athletes on the Bates campus. 

One of Richardson’s personal goals for this season includes setting new personal records, as well as becoming an All American. She told The Student that she hopes to do this by constantly pushing herself in training to try to become the best runner that she can be. So far, Richardson has set a new PR each race of the season.

For the team, Richardson hopes to help the Bobcats make their second trip to nationals in her time here and improve their overall performance from 2019.

“Our team has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and I hope that we can keep reaching for the stars,” she said.

Richardson’s huge potential as a runner as well as all of her accomplishments in such a young career are a reflection of her hard work, as well as the team’s direction. The entire Bates campus can look forward to seeing our runners compete on the highest stage with some of the best runners in the country in 2021.